Dual enrollment, referred to as concurrent enrollment in the School Code, is an effort by the Commonwealth to encourage a broader range of students to experience postsecondary coursework and its increased academic rigor, while still in the supportive environment of their local high school. The intent is to increase the number of students that go on to postsecondary education and to decrease the need for remedial coursework at postsecondary institutions. It is a locally administered program that allows a secondary student to concurrently enroll in post-secondary courses and to receive both secondary and postsecondary credit for that coursework.
Recent research makes the need for dual enrollment programs clear:
Dual enrollment programs are a proven method for increasing postsecondary participation for all students. In Florida, for instance, dual enrollment students enroll in higher education at rates significantlyhigher than students who do not enroll. This trend is particularly true for underrepresented populations, including African-American and Latino students. (source: Add and Subtract by Jobs for the Future)
Approximately half of students entering collegetake remedial courses. Dual enrollment programs help students be better prepared for the rigors of college, and decrease the need for remedial courses when they get there. (source: The Condition of Education by the U.S. Department of Education)
As tuition costs have increased nationwide, lower-income students are less likely to go on to higher education. According to a UCLA report, the nations college freshmen are more financially advantaged today than they have been at any point in the last 35 years and come from families with a median income 60 percent higher than the national average. The financial gap in postsecondary education participation is widening. (source: The American Freshman - Forty Year Trends by UCLA)
Dual enrollment programs are designed to give students greater opportunities to complete high school with adequate preparation for college and careers. In order for Pennsylvania to remain competitive in the global economy, we must to start to aggressively address these problems. The dual enrollment program is a key strategy in this effort.
In Pennsylvania, dual enrollment is for the capable, not just the exceptional student. Students who can demonstrate the skills that are needed to succeed in a non-remedial college course are the target population for Pennsylvanias Dual Enrollment Grant Program. A successful local dual enrollment program will increase the rigor of the high school experience for students as well as invite a broader range of students to think of themselves as college material. Dual enrollment will help to introduce more students to the advantages of postsecondary education and will help students have a more successful transition into the culture and expectations that are present in postsecondary institutions.
The Dual Enrollment Grant Program enables districts and Career and Technology Centers (school entities) to receive funds to offset the cost of postsecondary coursework completed under an approved dual enrollment program. Dual enrollment grants will cover tuition, books, fees, and transportation.
The local programs are run through partnerships between school entities and eligible postsecondary institutions. An eligible postsecondary institution is a nonprofit two-year or four-year public or private college or university or an eligible private licensed school approved to operate in Pennsylvania that is authorized to confer the degree of Associate in Specialized Technology or Associate in Specialized Business degree. Community colleges, members of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, state-related universities and private, nonprofit two-year or four-year colleges and universities are all eligible partners.